This autumn when I was visiting my parents, I saw my mother trying to use her “smartphone”. It was an old model of Samsung Duo ordered from China for a very low price – so probably not a real Samsung phone. She had it for a few years and she could not really install any apps on it, even basic Messenger or Facebook.
But not to talk about the apps, I was watching her when she was trying to call. The touchscreen did not respond well so she had to press around 3-4 times before she could proceed to the next action. “That is one crappy phone”, I thought that evening.
Next evening at the dinner table, I gave her a nice looking bag. It was a new smartphone – the real one that actually worked. We configured all the apps for her and imported her data. She looked excited and happy and her only request was “Can you install Viber?”. “But I don’t use Viber, I said”. “- Yes, but all my friends do so I want to have a Viber too”.
This is the moment that I remember very distinctively because moments like this define for me the purpose of technology. Technology is about opportunity – opportunity to express yourself, to be a part of a bigger community, to sell your products or spread ideas. There are millions of specific goals that technology empowers you to accomplish, there are millions of opportunities it provides.
Every day I help WordPress.com users to set up their sites, change the fonts and colors or troubleshoot tricky plugin issue. It can be hard at times and some days are frustrating, But the moments like this with my mum remind me of a significance of the work that we are doing every day – we are fostering opportunities.
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